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The Towering Chanukah Bush

The Towering Chanukah Bush

I know I promised you some December Dilemma resources.

But in the meantime, here’s an example of what NOT to do should you be invited over the home of an intermarried relative who has a “towering” Christmas tree “decorated with blue tinsel and blue ornaments, topped with a lit Star of David”:

I asked Marlene how she could so blatantly disrespect the Jewish religion by having such a sacrilegious symbol in her home. Perhaps I went too far when I asked if she thought her grandparents, who were Holocaust survivors, would approve.

Check out this letter in the “Dear Ella” section of the Canadian Jewish News’ blog, from a woman who has not talked to her sister or niece since this unfortunate family fight, and who is afraid of apologizing for fear of sending “the message that I approve.”

Granted, I’m not a big fan of holiday mixing and think a Christmas tree decked out with blue tinsel and topped with a Star of David is a bit tacky, but to call it a “monstrosity” and "sickening," as this letter writer does, seems a little melodramatic. I think Ella’s response is appropriate, particularly her conclusion:

Intermarried families are here to stay, and the sooner the community accepts them, instead of shunning them, the better chance of teaching them about Judaism and not losing them completely.

Apologizing is the right thing to do. You can’t impose your way of living on others, but you can take over latkes, dreidels and Chanukah gifts and tell the story of Chanukah. Kids will accept learning a lot better if it comes from the heart.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I respond to Jack Wertheimer’s op-ed on UJA-Federation of New York’s new outreach effort.

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